Alan King Stable Tour

Alan King
Alan King
Road to Cheltenham

by Tom Segal 

It has been another breakthrough year on the Flat for Alan King, who enjoyed a treble at Royal Ascot, won on Champions Day with Trueshan and invested in a couple of choice yearlings at Tattersalls Book 1 sale.

However, jump racing remains the priority for the Scot who grew up watching Neville Crump’s chasers clean up at Ayr and has trained 15 Cheltenham Festival winners since taking out a licence in 1999.

The wet winter 2019-20 did not play to the strengths of a man whose horses are often best on decent ground, none more so than high-class 2m chaser Sceau Royal – who made a successful return in last Sunday’s Welsh Champion Hurdle – and runaway Bet365 Gold Cup winner Talkischeap.

King has been quick to spot the opportunities offered by the expanded mares‘ programme and has won Listed or Graded races with Alsa Mix, Giving Glances, Mia’s Storm, Midnights‘ Gift and The Glancing Queen in the last two years.

Since last season former Greatwood Hurdle winner Elgin has been retired and Paddy Power Gold Cup hope Lisp suffered a fatal injury on the gallops.

But Harambe, who gave him a second Greatwood in three years, could well return to Cheltenham in November and stablemate Edwardstone, a highly promising novice, is also being aimed at the race.

Hollie Doyle steers Trueshan to Champions Day glory
Hollie Doyle steers Trueshan to Champions Day glory, Photo: Mark Cranham

Rival to watch

I was very taken with Paul Nicholls‘ Hell Red at Chepstow. I hope that I’ve got a couple of good juveniles but he’d be one I’d be very nervous about, especially as he’ll be even better on soft ground.

Race in focus

The Listed fillies‘ juvenile hurdle at Aintree on Becher Chase day. We’ve won it three times and Her Indoors is being aimed at it this season.

Stable profile

Yard Barbury Castle Stables
 Wroughton, Swindon
Started training December 1999
Horses in yard 120
Members of staff 46
Head lads David Stratton, Stuart Messenger, Gary Mew
Assistant trainer Dan Horsford
Pupil assistant trainers Robin Smith, Katie Thurtle
Travelling head person Mark White
Assistant travelling head persons Gareth Ball, Sarah Burness, Cheryl Binner
Jockeys Tom Cannon, Tom Bellamy
Conditionals Alexander Thorne, Max Browne
PA Charlotte Plunkett & Jackie Ferguson
Stable sponsor Hare

Winners in Britain 

2019-20 41
2018-19 91
2017-18 58
2016-17 104
2015-16 68

Profit/loss to £1 stake

2019-20 -£92.41
2018-19 -£156.32
2017-18 -£133.86
2016-17 -£77.18
2015-16 -£120.54

Total prize-money 2019-20 


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Eight-year-old gelding
Voix Du Nord (sire) – Zalagarry (dam)
Owner: McNeill Family and Prodec Networks Ltd
Form figures: 1650P-4
Racing Post rating: 141c Official rating: 133c

He lost his way slightly last season, but we gave him a good summer break and he ran well at Fontwell. He should come on for the run and I’d hope he can get back winning. He’s very relaxed nowadays and should get three miles. He could head back to Newbury next month.

6 g Ballingarry – Miss Hollywood
Highclere Thoroughbred Racing – Ballywood
RPR 153c OR 144c

He ran some marvellous races last season in a difficult winter given he doesn’t want testing ground. He was a good second at Fontwell, where he just needed the run, and may go to Cheltenham on Friday or Aintree on Sunday. I want to try him over two and a half miles at some stage this season.

Big Chief Benny
9 g Beneficial – Be Airlie
Oitavos Partnership
RPR 122c OR 116c

He needed a couple of runs last season having missed plenty of 2018-19 and seems in really good form, working well now. He’s had a few issues and wants soft ground, but I hope he can build on last season’s efforts over fences. 

4 g Balko – Ascella
Apple Tree Stud
RPR 128h OR 132h

He was a little fresh on his comeback at Chepstow but still finished fifth and should be spot on now. He’ll go down the handicap route over hurdles and, given the way he travels, at the moment there seems no point in stepping him up in trip.

Burren Walk
5 m Lucarno – Persian Walk
Denis J Barry
RPR 105h OR –

She was very free in her second bumper and we put her away, but she’s more relaxed now, training in a hood. I was happy with her hurdles debut at Warwick and I’ll probably give her another run at two miles – she’ll get further but I want to make sure she settles.

7 g Mahler – Nobody’s Darling
John P McManus
RPR 139c OR 130c

He took a few runs to get the hang of things over fences but won well at Huntingdon. He wants at least two and a half miles and won’t mind it when the rain comes. He’ll come on plenty for his run at Uttoxeter last week.   

Chosen Path
7 g Well Chosen – Karsulu
McNeill Family and Prodec Networks Ltd
RPR 145c OR 142c

He’s been off a long time after straining his tendons at Market Rasen but he’s back cantering and is a goodish-ground horse who’ll probably be out in the spring. He was quite a progressive chaser before that injury.

Coeur De Lion
7 g Pour Moi – Hora
The Barbury Boys
RPR 139h OR 131h

He was a Royal Ascot winner but ran another shocker in the Cesarewitch and clearly doesn’t like Newmarket. He’s freshening up at the moment and will have a couple of hurdle runs when he’s back. He looked like winning on his last try at Kempton until blundering at the second-last.

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Royal Ascot winner Coeur De Lion is set to return to hurdles
Royal Ascot winner Coeur De Lion is set to return to hurdles, Photo: Alan Crowhurst

Colours Of My Life
5 m Arcadio – Lough Roe Lady
Charles Dingwall
RPR 95b

She’s a likeable mare who looked as though she was coming to win at Newbury only to tire. She’s done well for the summer and is a lot stronger now. She’ll probably have one more run in a bumper and then go hurdling. She has a good staying pedigree and is one to look forward to.  

Dal Horrisgle
4 g Nathaniel – Dalvina
St Albans Bloodstock Ltd
155-473 (Flat)
RPR 104 (Flat)

He was useful with William Haggas but they felt he needed a change of scenery. He had a wind operation and ran well for us on soft ground at Ascot. He’s really taken to schooling over hurdles and he could be a decent novice.

Deyrann De Carjac
7 g Balko – Queyrann
J Law

RPR 148c OR 145c

He’s a bit behind the main string because he had to have an operation after fracturing a bone at the back of his knee at Cheltenham. He’d taken well to fences and will be campaigned at 2m4f to 2m6f. There could be a good race in him and he’s at his best on better ground.    

5 m Milan – Dream Lass
S Smith
RPR 96b

She’s quite heavy and very laid-back and she improved with every run in bumpers. She’ll really progress with racing over hurdles and should get two and a half miles.   

Dingo Dollar
8 g Golden Lariat – Social Society
M Warren, J Holmes, R Kidner & J Wright
RPR 152c OR 142c

He was being aimed at the Topham last spring and the plan now is to run him in the Becher Chase, even though he disappointed over hurdles at Uttoxeter on his return. I think his jumping and his style of racing could make him very effective over the National fences.

Dino Velvet
7 g Naaqoos – Matgil
McNeill Family & Niall Farrell
RPR 137h OR 133h

He’s been running well all summer, though the handicapper’s just got him. We experimented at two and a half miles but he’s at his best over a strongly run two miles when horses start to come back to him. 

Duke Of Condicote
3 g No Nay Never – Duchess Of Gazeley
Jamie Magee, A Bromley & A King
54-1252 (Flat)
RPR 85f

He stayed on really well when second at Yarmouth after a break, handling the testing ground, and will now be schooled over hurdles.  

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Star quality

6 g Kayf Tara – Nothingtoloose
Robert Abrey, Ian Thurtle
RPR 142h OR 142h

His form in novice hurdles last season was high-class and he ran creditably in the Supreme at Cheltenham when our horses weren’t really firing. He wants better ground than he got there. I’d like to go for the Greatwood Hurdle with him, although I’m not sure whether or not he’ll have a run beforehand. Then we’ll take a view on whether to go over fences – he’ll make a lovely chaser but he’s not had a lot of racing and can be a bit headstrong, which is why he’s starting over hurdles.

Edwardstone (near side) is being aimed at the Greatwood Hurdle
Edwardstone (near side) is being aimed at the Greatwood Hurdle, Photo: John Grossick

5 g Excelebration – Brief Escapade
S Love, H & C Barrett & D Gibbon
RPR 122h OR 121h

He’s been running well, although he’s proving difficult to win with. His best run was his second in a competitive handicap at Market Rasen and he was beaten favourite in novices either side. He’s being freshened up and I’d love to get his head in front.

Es Perfecto
5 g Shirocco – Shadow Dearg
Mrs Liz Prowting
RPR 114h OR –

He’s a lovely horse and won on his hurdles debut at Warwick where he did well to win because he got knocked sideways after he jumped the last. I won’t overface him but he’ll keep progressing, won’t mind slower ground and could stay beyond two and a half miles.

Es Perfecto (far right, yellow cap) did well to win at Warwick
Es Perfecto (far right, yellow cap) did well to win at Warwick, Photo: Alan Crowhurst

7 g Fine Grain – Folle Tempete
RPR 146c OR 142c

He’s a grand little horse who’s been lumping big weights this season and put up a terrific performance when winning a valuable handicap  at Market Rasen last Saturday. He stays 2m6f, handles better ground and is really consistent.  

5 g Kap Rock – Valence
Tim Syder
RPR 121h OR 125h

He was a big baby last season and I was delighted with his win at Fakenham. He’s much stronger this year and is a novice until the end of November so he’ll be ready when we get a bit of rain. He’ll probably stay hurdling this season and will get further than two and a half miles in time. 

Good Man Pat
7 g Gold Well – Basically Supreme
David Sewell
RPR 147c OR 133c

I experimented with him over three miles last season but he doesn’t quite get home, so we’ll run him in 2m4f and 2m6f chases and I’d hope he could be very competitive off his mark. He may start over hurdles at Cheltenham on Friday. 

Greenrock Abbey
4 g El Salvado – Aos Dana
Million in Mind
1 (point-to-point)
RPR 90p

He’s a big, scopey horse who won an Irish point-to-point before we bought him at the Cheltenham sale in March. I’ve been very happy with him and he’ll go straight over hurdles, probably at two and a half miles with a view to stepping up in trip.  

Dark horse

Grisbi De Berce
4 g Tin Horse – Volupia De Berce
Charles Dingwall & Alan King
RPR 100b

He works like a very good horse and ran well on his debut at Kempton despite doing an awful lot wrong. He pulled really hard and hung quite badly and was nearly unrideable at one stage, but still finished seventh in a pretty smart bumper. He’ll go straight over hurdles, probably right-handed over two miles. He works like a smart youngster.   

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Group Stage
4 g Maxios – Good Hope
McNeill Family & Niall Farrell
RPR 120h OR 126h

He was always in top gear on his return at Chepstow so he’ll step up in trip now and will improve for going up to two and a half miles. He had solid form last season and should continue to pay his way.

7 g Malinas – Crystal Princess
Niall Farrell & Friends
RPR 143h OR 143h

He’s just come back after being in pre-training at AP’s [McCoy], and may head back to the Greatwood. He looked very good when winning it last season but got brought down at the last in the Betfair Hurdle and was lucky to survive – he was down for quite a while and it’s taken him a long time to recover. He looks very well, his movement is great and we’ll take a view through the season about whether to send him chasing.

Harambe (Tom Bellamy, black cap) wins the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham last season
Harambe (Tom Bellamy, black cap) wins the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham last season, Photo: Grossick Racing

4 g Gentlewave – Cutielilou
The Harrowby Partnership
RPR 82b

He’s a horse I’ve always liked and we fired him off at the deep end in the Listed bumper at Cheltenham. He was very green and we probably overfaced him, but he’s ready to start again with another run in a bumper before he goes hurdling. I still like him.  

Heart Of A Lion
5 g Yeats – Lady Secret
John P McManus
RPR 106b

He won very well on his debut at Southwell but then had a setback last autumn. He’d have been ready to run in the spring but there was no racing. I’m really looking forward to getting him started over hurdles.   

Her Indoors
3 f Raven’s Pass – Superfonic
McNeill Family & Niall Farrell
29-4712 (Flat)
RPR 80 (Flat)

She won well at Lingfield and was a good second in a competitive handicap at Chelmsford. I’d like to give her one run over hurdles and then aim her at the juvenile fillies‘ Listed race at Aintree which I won for the third time with Midnights‘ Gift last year. She’s a progressive filly who may benefit from soft ground. 

6 g Malinas – Skew
Alan King
RPR 115b

He’s a half-brother to Valdez and was second in a bumper before damaging his pelvis, although he was ready to run again when racing stopped. He’ll be out towards the end of the month, either in another bumper or over hurdles.

6 g Muhtathir – Janiceinwonderland
Owners Group 025
RPR 128c OR 125c

He won well over two miles at Warwick and was then fourth off an 8lb higher mark in a stronger race at Kempton. However, neither Tom Cannon nor I were convinced he got the extra two furlongs so he’ll probably come back to two.

Jay Bee Why
5 g Yeats- Lady Bernie
David J S Sewell & Tim Leadbeater
RPR 86b

He’s an Irish point winner who behaved badly before his first run for me at Newbury. We had a job getting the saddle on and he did far too much through the race. We’ve tidied his wind up and he’ll go novice hurdling, probably starting at two and a half miles.

Label Des Obeaux
9 g Saddler Maker – La Bessiere
David Sewell & Terry Warner
RPR 138h 156c OR 126h 144c

Although he’s got some good chase form, he seems happy hurdling and will stay down that route. He’s always needed a run and the ground was as quick as he’d want it at Newton Abbot last week. There may be another three-mile handicap in him.

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Lord Lamington
4 g Australia – Lady Eclair
Netherfield House Stud
RPR 126h OR 135h

He was quite progressive over hurdles last season, although he’s high enough in the handicap. He wants ground that’s good to soft or slower and he’ll get further than two miles.

9 g Winged Love – Tartan Belle
Mrs Susan Page
RPR 121h OR 121h

He was new to me last season and won at Chepstow after a long layoff before missing numerous races due to abandonments. He started off at Wetherby and was beaten less than five lengths in a muddling race.

Major Dundee
5 b g Scorpion – Be My Granny
Trevor Hemmings
RPR 119h OR –

He’s a bumper winner who was running a pleasing race when falling at the last on his hurdles debut at Warwick. He was down for a while and we may have run him back too quickly next time. He’ll be a proper stayer in time and should win over hurdles before going chasing.

Messire Des Obeaux
8 g Saddler Maker – Madame Lys
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
RPR 149h OR 138h

He’s a Grade 1 winner who was off for three years before we got him back to run at Huntingdon, where he travelled well for a long way and Daryl Jacob looked after him as he tired. He may go straight over fences when we get proper soft ground, although we have to take it one day at a time with him.

Midnight Ginger
4 f Midnight Legend – Calamintha
Pitchall Stud Partnership
RPR 106b

She’s a very likeable filly who won on her debut at Newbury and was a good fourth in a Listed bumper at Market Rasen. She’s been held up slightly after throwing a curb but she’ll go straight over hurdles.

7 m Midnight Legend – Forget The Ref
Robert Abrey, Ian Thurtle
RPR 126 OR 122h

She was a good fifth in a competitive 2m5f handicap at Kempton, where she was flat to the boards, so she’ll probably want to step up in trip as the season goes on. She’s schooling over fences and jumps very well.

Midnights‘ Gift
4 f Midnight Legend – Giving
Pitchall Stud Partnership
RPR 131h OR 130h

She had a good season as a juvenile and ran well again when fourth at Market Rasen last weekend – she’d have finished closer but for interference. I’ll try to find her a mares‘ race.

Midnights Legacy
3 c Midnight Legend – Giving
Pitchall Stud Partnership
RPR 86h

He’s exciting and got up to 90 in the handicap on the Flat, which is pretty useful. An early mistake unsettled him on his hurdles debut at Wetherby and his jumping was rather novicey. The plan is still to head to the back there for the Wensleydale at the end of the month.

5 b g Planteur – Trexana
Top Brass 2
RPR 121h OR 124h

He won a valuable race at Fakenham on the Friday of the Cheltenham Festival. We shouldn’t have run him at Fontwell on his return as he hated the soft ground and we’ll have to avoid winter going with him. He’ll get further than two miles.

6 g Authorized – Magic Music
Ray Bailey
RPR 118b

It’s great to have him back. He won two bumpers and then looked home and hosed at Newbury but went wrong in the last 100 yards and finished lame. He suffered a serious injury, but is back cantering and will go novice hurdling when he’s ready.

6 g Mahler – Ballybrowney Hall
David Sewell & Tim Leadbetter
RPR 137c OR 132c

He was consistent last season and is suited by three miles and a galloping track. I’m not convinced the cheekpieces helped him much on his final start as he still raced lazily. He’ll probably start off without the headgear and should continue to run well.

On To Victory
6 g Rock Of Gibraltar – Clouds Of Magellan
HP Racing
RPR 125h OR 125h

He’s been running well on the Flat and is due to go for the November Handicap before returning to hurdles. He was going to be second when he unseated his rider at the last on his hurdles debut and ended up on the floor on his last start at Kempton, but he’s a good jumper at home. He’s working an awful lot better now than he did last year and he should certainly win over hurdles.

6 m Stowaway – Burnt Oil Babe
McNeill Family and Niall Farrell
RPR 119h OR 119h

She’s a likeable mare who wasn’t quite firing last year so we gave her a wind operation and she’s been pleasing me this autumn. She won well at Warwick last time, although I’m not sure how strong the form is. She’s likely to head to Lingfield on Thursday and will continue to progress. She’ll make a lovely chaser when the time comes.      

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4 g Excelebration – Melodrama
Coupland, Gemmell, Hues & Sullivan
RPR 108h OR 111h

He’s been running well on the Flat and is due to run in an amateurs‘ race at Newbury on Saturday. He should do well in novice handicaps back over hurdles.

7 g Sulamani – Polly Potter
James and Jean Potter
RPR 150c OR 142c

He had a very good summer, winning at Market Rasen and then running a fine second at Chepstow. He stays and jumps well and as he gets older he may appreciate a bit more ease in the ground. He should continue to pay his way.

Rebel Royal
7 g Getaway – Molly Duffy
Jerry Wright, Martin Walker and Tony Hughes
RPR 130c OR 122c

He got hammered by the handicapper after winning a very ordinary race at Huntingdon and he’s not up to that mark. He ran better when fourth at Wincanton but needs to come down in the weights.

Roscoe Tara
5 g Kaye Tara – Aunt Harriet
Roger & Yvonne Allsop
RPR 101b

He’s a big, backward horse who’s taken time but ran well in a steadily run bumper at Warwick. He’ll be suited by easier ground and will probably have another bumper run before going hurdling.    

5 g Scorpion – Nutmeg Tune
Trevor Hemmings
RPR 104h OR –

He’s a big, scopey horse who stayed on nicely after getting outpaced on his hurdles debut at Market Rasen. He’ll progress with experience and will make a smart staying chaser in time.

Scarlet Dragon
7 g Sir Percy – Welsh Angel
HP Racing Scarlet Dragon
RPR 140h OR 140h

He’s having a break after a wind operation and may go hurdling on his return, having won a Listed race at Market Rasen last season. However, I’ll study the all-weather programme before making a decision.

Scarlet Dragon won the Duke of Edinburgh at Royal Ascot in the summer and could now return to hurdles
Scarlet Dragon won the Duke of Edinburgh at Royal Ascot in the summer and could now return to hurdles, Photo: Edward Whitaker

Sceau Royal
8 g Doctor Dino – Sandside
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
RPR 168c 157h OR 163c 150h

He’s a high-class chaser. He can’t go a yard when places like Sandown get soft or heavy but he’s shown elsewhere that he’s not far off the best of them, and a wind operation might have eked a bit of improvement out of him. I was thrilled with his win in the Welsh Champion Hurdle and we may stay over hurdles for the time being. We could look at the Elite Hurdle and he’ll be entered for the Greatwood, although there is also the Shloer Chase. I’ve had the idea for a while of trying him over two and a half miles and that’s still in my mind.

Senior Citizen
6 g Tobougg – Mothers Help
McNeill Family
RPR 140c OR 134c

He’s a horse I like and has just taken time to strengthen. He won well at Newton Abbot but had quite a hard race and I’ll give him time before running him again. He’ll continue to improve and will get three miles in time. 

Sheshoon Sonny
5 g Youmzain – Minnie’s Mystery
McNeill Family & Niall Farrell
RPR 119h OR 117h

He was a nearly horse last season, lacking concentration in a race, so I hope he’s matured a bit with another summer on him. His bumper form was solid and I’m sure he’ll progress as the season goes on.  

8 g Getaway – Carrigmoorna Oak
Charles Dingwall
RPR 160c OR 155c

Unfortunately a recurring wind problem resulted in him having a tie-back operation last week and he’ll not be seen for some time. If he came back to form, Charles Dingwall would still love to run him in the Grand National. He’s much better on good ground.

Temple High
5 m Sulamani – Uppermost
James and Jean Potter
RPR 113h OR –

She had a couple of runs for Nicky Henderson and goes very pleasingly at home. I’m still learning about her, but I trained her half-sister Midnight Tour to be second at the Cheltenham Festival and it’s a family I know well.

The Devils Drop
7 g Court Cave – Concernforkillen
David Mason
RPR 137h OR 134h

He’s been missing for a long time due to a leg problem but is back in good form and will go chasing after a run over hurdles – he’s sure to need a race. He was very progressive when we last saw him. 

The Glancing Queen
6 m Jeremy – Glancing
Dingwall, Farrell, Hornsby & Murray
RPR 121b

We had no run with her last season as she got a splint and it took most of the winter to get her sound. She ran well for a long way in the Champion Bumper but that was the end of the season and she didn’t really like the surface when we ran her on the Flat at Kempton. She looks marvellous again now, back in strong work, and she’s an exciting prospect for mares‘ novice hurdles. It’s great to have her back.

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The Glancing Queen gave Alan King his third win in the Grade 2 mares' bumper at Aintree in 2018; she's set to go hurdling this term
The Glancing Queen gave Alan King his third win in the Grade 2 mares‘ bumper at Aintree in 2018; she’s set to go hurdling this term, Photo: John Grossick

The Unit
9 g Gold Well – Sovana
International Plywood
RPR 144c 138c

He missed last season, although he’d have been ready if there’d been racing in the spring and I think he’s still got plenty of ability. He’s working well but had to miss Chepstow recently when the ground dried up. Good or good to soft is ideal and we’ll find a two-and-a-half-mile chase for him.  

3 c Sea The Moon – Selenography
McNeill Family and Ian Dale
5-22624 (Flat)
RPR 106f OR 99f

He’s high-class and has run some marvellous races this Flat season, finishing second at Royal Ascot and in a Listed race. He’ll be gelded and given a break and then may school in January. He could make his debut in something like the Adonis Hurdle or go back down the Flat route and wait for jumping next season. 

4 f Toronado – Manbaa
Barbury Lions 5
RPR 105h OR 108h

She has got her act together on the Flat and won three times this year. I’d imagine her mark of 108 is very manageable back over hurdles. She handles soft ground and we could have a lot of fun with her.  

13 ch g Doyen – Skew
Riverdee Stable
RPR 159c OR 145c

He’s 13 but his enthusiasm has not waned in the slightest. He’s waiting for more ease in the ground and wants two and a half miles – we tried him over three last season and he didn’t get it. He’s best right-handed.

5 g Coastal Path – Duchesse Pierji
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
RPR 126h OR –

He’s a lovely young horse, an Irish point winner who finished third in a bumper that’s working out well. I could not have been more pleased with his winning debut over hurdles at Wetherby. He’ll improve for the experience and is an exciting prospect.

Who Dares Wins
8 g Jeremy – Savignano
HP Racing Who Dares Wins
RPR 153c 151h OR 147c 151h

He’s been the most wonderful horse. Not many can reach the level he’s done under all codes and his win at Royal Ascot was very special. He’s had a good break and will go down the hurdles route, probably starting off in the three-miler at the Ladbrokes Trophy meeting at Newbury. We’re not going to ask him to jump a fence again, I don’t think our nerves would take it – we must be getting soft in our old age!

Who Dares Wins (near side) gets the better of Southfield Stone in the Pendil Novices' Chase at Kempton
Who Dares Wins (near side) gets the better of Southfield Stone in the Pendil Novices‘ Chase at Kempton, Photo: Edward Whitaker

William H Bonney
9 g Midnight Legend – Calamintha
Mr & Mrs R Scott
RPR 139h OR 129h

He summered unbelievably well and it’s taken time to get the weight off him. He’ll come on plenty for his first run back at Wetherby and he could possibly go chasing after a couple of hurdles runs. 

Wynn House
5 m Presenting – Glorious Twelfth
Rupert Anton
RPR 119h OR –

She’s a quality mare and I was really pleased with her win over hurdles at Bangor as she handled the soft ground well. She could head to Ludlow on Thursday if the forecast rain materialises. She needs at least two and a half miles and I’d hope she’ll be one of the better mares around. 

Two for the tracker

Valleres won very pleasingly at Wetherby and is an exciting prospect, while it’s great to have The Glancing Queen back – she looks marvellous.

Expert analysis

You have to go back to Uxizandre in the 2015 Ryanair Chase to find the last Alan King-trained winner at the Cheltenham Festival, but that is 100 per cent down to how all the best jumps horses go to a handful of yards rather than the competence of the trainer. 

Year in year out, King wins big races. He trained three winners and a second at Royal Ascot in June and only on Saturday had perhaps the biggest winner of his Flat career with Trueshan on Champions Day. Basically he has always been, and still is, one of the best trainers in Britain and, while he might still be lacking that absolute superstar jumper, Sceau Royal is right up there with the best two-mile chasers around and he looked better than ever when winning the Welsh Champion Hurdle on Sunday.

It should not be forgotten that Sceau Royal is still only eight and that he has already finished sixth in a Champion Hurdle and third in a Champion Chase. It is just unfortunate that he was born in the same era as Altior because he could win a Champion Chase on good ground. Time is still on his side and a wind operation might have improved him a few pounds too.

He is clearly the standout horse in the string, but King always has some good juvenile hurdlers and that might be where his strength lies. Midnights Legacy is a lot better than he showed at Wetherby last week when he seemed to lose a bit of confidence after an early mistake, but it’s Tritonic who should really get the King fans excited.

Second to Highland Chief at Royal Ascot, Tritonic ran as well as he’s ever done at Newmarket recently when fourth in one of the hottest handicaps of the season, giving lots of weight to those who beat him. There won’t be many better Flat horses than him going juvenile hurdling. Last but by no means least, no one should lose faith in The Glancing Queen, who had nothing go right last season but still managed to finish eighth in the Champion Bumper. It’s virtually impossible to beat the Irish in the mares‘ races, but if there is one horse that might be up to it in Britain it’s The Glancing Queen.

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